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Topics addressed on July 11, 2007:
Sharing a merged report with a mortgage customer
Is it now OK to release a customer’s tri-merge report to the customer? The tri-merged report was pulled to apply for a home loan through the seller and broker.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows the lender or broker to share the report they receive with their customer. However, if you choose to do so, you must be prepared to explain the report, and the information in it, to your customer.
A tri-merge report is a credit report product created by combining a person’s credit reports from each of the three national credit reporting companies. It is particularly common in mortgage lending, and is usually done by a third party mortgage reporting company.
A mortgage reporting company gets a report from each of the national credit reporting companies and merges them into a single report, usually removing duplicate accounts. It also may provide other analytic services, such as applying credit scores, before sending it to the lender.
Tri-merge reports often are shared with consumers during the mortgage process, so generally are fairly easy to read. However, because the reports you receive as a creditor are formatted for your company to make lending decisions, the content is in an order designed specifically for your needs. The report may also contain information that is not from the credit reporting company, such as credit scores and information from the credit application.
Further, there will be no contact information for Experian or dispute instructions with the report you provide.
The personal report a person gets directly from Experian includes the same credit report information you received, plus additional inquiries that are shown only to consumers. It is provided in a format that is very easy to read and understand. Every entry is numbered, and contact information is provided for the person to dispute information they believe is inaccurate.
Most important is that the personal report is exactly what Experian’s representatives are looking at when the consumer calls for assistance. This helps Experian provide your customers with the best, most efficient service possible.
While you can share the tri-merged report with your clients, directing them to also get a clear, easy-to-read report directly from Experian usually saves them a lot of confusion and time.
Please explain that the score you receive is an additional service your company purchases and is not a part of the credit report your customer will receive with their personal report. They also may choose to purchase a score separately as an additional service.
If adverse action is taken based on an Experian credit report, such as declining the application, their report from Experian is free. If they haven’t already requested a report from www.annualcreditreport.com within the last 12 months, they also can get their Experian report free. The same is true for the other national credit reporting companies.
Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team